Monday, April 7, 2014


Do you make homemade tortellini??

Yeah, me neither. I may tackle that one day when baby and I need a rainy day project, but for now, I occasionally buy the store-bought kind to mix up our pasta-dinner routine.

For this dish, I sautéed red peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and cherry tomatoes in olive oil with pepper, garlic, and a touch of salt. When they were soft, I boiled the tortellini and threw it all together.


So I consider this dish still "made from scratch!"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sausage stir-fry!

We had some sausages we were saving for the grill, but it has rained all day. Not a nice, springy rain, more of a cold, drizzling rain. Yuck. So since it still feels like winter in our house, I thought a sausage stir-fry would be appropriate!

This is really simple, full of delicious vegetables and a touch of sausage. I used a brand of sausage that was flavored with apple and Gouda cheese, yum!

Start with sliced red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and yellow zucchini squash in a pan with olive oil on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft.

Meanwhile, prepare 1.5 cups brown rice.

Slice your sausage however you like! You can keep it in big pieces or cut it into little chunks. Add the rice and sausage to the veggies, season with a little more pepper and smoked Tabasco sauce. Let this all cook together for about 15 minutes.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Operation "fat baby"

We had baby's 9 month appointment this week and she was on the low end for weight. I'm not especially concerned about this because everything else is measuring normal and we have some petit genes in our family, however, I would like to see a little more pudge on this little girl!

My pediatrician suggested adding more meat to her diet, along with full fat yogurt and butter. This is tricky because everyone keeps telling us, "give her the food you eat!" As you know, Mr. PT and I just don't eat a whole lot of meat, and butter is usually reserved for bread!

But, I'm on a mission now, so here we go!

I boiled some chicken breasts in water then threw them in my food processor. I put about a 1/3 of the chicken in my fridge to use for the week and the rest went into the freezer. Done!

Then I browned off some 86% lean ground beef and did the same. Done!

So for lunch this week, baby enjoyed some baked squash mixed with chicken and a small pad of butter. I rolled it into child-friendly balls so she could feed herself.

Did she eat these? Yes!

So I followed this regimen for two days:
Breakfast: fresh fruit, oatmeal, full fat yogurt, flax (all purée)
Lunch: vegetable with chicken and butter
Snack: puff cereal and avocado in chunks
Dinner: vegetable with beef and butter

At dinner on day 2, baby revolted. Too much for her little tummy! So now I am supplementing yogurt at breakfast and lunch, saving the meat for dinner only.

She seems to be adjusting well to this! Babies are like us adults...the numbers change as we age so we have to constantly tweak and change our healthy habits!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Poached eggs

How do cows produce milk by only eating grass?

I'm still nursing baby and there are days when I just NEED protein! This dish I recently saw in Everyday Food (thanks, Martha) looked like a fantastic meal with one of my favorite sources of protein...eggs!

Confession: Before tonight, I had never poached an egg. The whole process kind of weirded me out. But they made it sound super simple in this recipe so I figured I would give it a shot. As you can see below, it turned out beautifully!

You will need:
-1 tbs olive oil
-3-4 bunches leaf spinach
-3/4 cup fresh cilantro
-2 eggs
-2 cups cooked quinoa, warmed
-salt/pepper to taste

In a straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of water over medium to a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium high. Add spinach and toss until slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook one minute. Add 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer to a colander and press excess liquid from greens.

Crack 1 egg into a cup and gently tip into the simmering water. Repeat with remaining egg. Cook until whites are set and yolks are runny (2-3 minutes). With a slotted spoon, scoop the egg up and place on a plate with paper towels. Divide quinoa, spinach and eggs into 2 bowls, season with salt/pepper, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining cilantro. Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Instant" soup

Ok, you might read this post and laugh today. You might say, "the family who makes beet salad from a CSA box is eating Ramen chicken soup? Really?!

Really! Mr. PT has this thing about eating soup after we spend a day traveling in the car. And I can agree with this sentiment...after sitting in a car for 5 hours, you're hungry but your tummy is kind of queasy from all the motion. Chicken noodle soup always hits the spot. I usually pop open a can of Campbell's, but recently I have been stocking up on Ramen. It's just so ridiculously inexpensive (for good reason) and I love the long, curly noodles.

Of course, as you can guess, this is not the most healthy option when it comes to soup. So what can you do?

Well, you can first boil some kale leaves, chopped carrots, chopped celery, and chopped zucchini. Add the Ramen seasoning packet and boil until the veggies are soft. Add the noodles, cook 2-3 minutes and voila! Healthy chicken noodle soup!

Ok, healthy is a stretch, but it's definitely healthier!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A break from chicken

Mr. PT and I have been eating homemade chicken noodle soup the past few days, which is delicious, but we need a break.

Mex always sounds good, so I did what I do best: threw some vegetables into a pan and turned them into enchiladas!

You will need:
-1 red pepper, sliced
-1 green pepper, sliced
-1 onion, sliced
-1/2 zucchini, peeled, quartered and sliced
-1 cup frozen corn
-olive oil
-1 package fajita seasoning, or your favorite Mex spices
-8-10 corn tortillas
-1 can enchilada sauce
-1/2 bag shredded Colby jack cheese

Soften your veggies in olive oil on medium heat. Throw in fajita seasoning and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare a baking dish by putting about 2 tbs of enchilada sauce in the bottom. Warm 2 tortillas at a time in the microwave on high for 20 seconds. This prevents them from falling apart when you roll them. Put about 2 tbs of pepper mixture into the corn tortilla, roll it up, and carefully set it in the pan folded side down. Keep rolling until you use all the filling! It's okay to stack them. Sprinkle the top with cheese, pour on the rest of the enchilada sauce, cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more.

They looked delicious when I pulled them out of the oven, however, they turned to mush when I started serving. Corn tortillas are healthier but they don't quite stay together as well as flour tortillas. Oh well...enchilada casserole!!

Baby ate fresh avocado mixed with oatmeal cereal and cream cheese!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pt family dinner

What baby ate: puréed carrots, apples and yogurt mixed with baby oatmeal, fresh avocado, puff cereal.

What Mr. PT and I ate: sautéed peppers, onions and zucchini mixed with cooked sweet potato, black beans and taco seasoning. Served in a corn tortilla with fresh avocado and cheese.

Bon appetit!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Remember wheatberries?

Ok, it's that time of year. It has been winter for quite some time now, yet, we still have a few months until it is truly warm.

Have you gotten the flu yet? Norovirus? How about food poisoning? I've had all three!! Which means I need to pack on a few pounds to keep warm during the second half of winter! I'd rather not do this by eating brownies and and sun chips (although it is tempting!), so it's time to pull out the wheatberries.

These delicious whole grains are extremely versatile and really fill you up!  See my first post about wheat berries here!

This time, I sautéed onions, red peppers, chopped zucchini, and boiled kale in olive oil, mixed with the cooked wheatberries and shredded Colby jack cheese, cracked an egg on top and stuck the whole thing under the broiler for about 10 minutes, making sure the egg whites were fully cooked.

Wow, was this filling.  As my mother-in-law says, it really stuck to my ribs!

Monday, February 3, 2014

I'll never buy granola bars again!

In deep conversations about food, (yes, I find myself having those), I have heard people say, "I never buy granola bars, they are so easy to make!" And I have thought to myself, Nature Valley? Mojo? Luna bars? They seem kind of complicated!

So when I saw this snazzy blogger's recipe, I had to try it for myself!

Following her directions, I melted my butter, brown sugar, and honey.

I was slightly nervous about boiling this mixture the right amount of time.  I followed her directions and got lucky, I guess!

Instead of chocolate chips, I mixed in some trail mix, taking out most of the big almonds and cashews (eating them on the way to the gym this morning, haha).

After putting the mixture in the dish, I put wax paper over the top so I could press it down with my hands.  The directions said to really smash it, so that's what I did!

They set up beautifully!  And they are DELICIOUS!  It's official!  I'll never buy granola bars again! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More frozen baby food!

Baby is loving these combinations too!

-Sweet potato and avocado
-Sweet potato, apples, Greek yogurt and nutmeg
-Carrots, pears, Greek yogurt and cinnamon

Make sure you steam those carrots first!

I didn't mention this in my last entry, but when it is time to feed baby I do the following:
-microwave the cubes for about 45 seconds on high
-add about a tablespoon of rice or oatmeal baby cereal and mix
-add 1-2 tbs of water to make it a smooth purée consistency
-sprinkle in some ground flax to keep baby regular!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Let's keep it moving!

Baby was content to sit on the kitchen floor today, learning how to bang spatulas on pots and pans (yes, she did this for the first time today!). So while she kept herself busy, I voraciously raced around my little kitchen to make two dishes that could fill us up for the next few days!

The first will be called, "Chicken and vegetables on pasta with creamy goat cheese, mushroom, and red pepper sauce." Not very catchy, but very descriptive!

For this filling dish, you will need:

-1/2 bunch kale, stripped from the stalks, torn into chunks and rinsed
-2 chicken breasts, or 3 chicken thighs
-olive oil
-5-6 mushrooms, sliced
-1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
-1/3 onion, sliced
-1 tbs butter
-4 tbs flour
-4 cups chicken broth
-1-2 tbs goat cheese
-salt/pepper/Italian seasoning to taste
-1/2 package of pasta of your choice

Flash boil the kale (boil for one minute and drain). Set aside.

Heat up 2-3 tbs of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. When hot, put in the chicken breasts/thighs and let simmer on low-medium until browned on each side and cooked through. Remove from the oil and let cool on a plate with napkins (to soak up excess oil). DO NOT THROW AWAY OIL IN PAN. Meanwhile, soften onion, mushrooms and peppers in a separate pan with butter. When the butter is absorbed, add 1 tbs oil to keep the vegetables from sticking. Once soft, remove the vegetables from the butter/oil with tongs and temporarily store in a bowl close by. Pour the oil from your cooked chicken INTO the pan with the oil from the cooked vegetables (combine the two). Now add flour and stir with a whisk (you are making a roux!). This will get dry and sticky pretty quickly. Slowly add the chicken broth and stir, it should get thicker and creamier as you go. While stirring, add the goat cheese and stir until thoroughly combined. Season with salt/pepper as desired.

The process of making a roux is not a perfect science (at least not for me). If you feel it gets too runny, add more flour. If it's too thick, add more chicken broth. The important part is to get it right before you add the other ingredients in.

Add the cooked vegetables, chicken, and kale to the roux. Season with Italian seasonings. Allow these ingredients to simmer on low while you boil water for pasta. Cook the pasta slightly less than directed since you'll be baking it more later. Drain the pasta and put it in a deep casserole dish. Top the pasta with your vegetable roux mix. Cover and refrigerate for later, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Voila!

Now clap and yell "yay!!" for your kitchen buddy who just discovered how to play peek-a-boo with the strainer!!

Next dish, French onion soup! I used a packaged mix for this...please don't judge me. BUT, I added:
-1/2 bunch of kale (raw, I figured it would cook in the soup)
-4-5 mushrooms, sliced
-freshly sliced onions (as directed)
-2 cups whole grain egg noodles

The moral of the story here's okay to use store-bought mixes once in a while! They are great gifts! But I try to "jazz them up" with fresh ingredients so they are a bit more healthy and hearty. I will upload a pic tomorrow!!

Now go pat yourself on the back for keeping it moving in the kitchen!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter Warmth

It was time for a new soup! I constantly get recipe ideas in my email from, a great source for ideas! I came across this one recently and of course had to try it because of the added kale! Yum!

You can use the exact recipe if you want, but I made a few changes because...
1) Mr. Pt hates tomato soup so I cut out the tomato paste
2) I had celery in my fridge dying to be used!
3) I love egg noodles!

So here is my version:

-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 stalk celery, diced
-1 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
-2 14 1/2 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
-8 ounce (about 2 cups) whole wheat egg noodles
-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-1 bunch fresh kale, tough stems discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces and washed
-2 cans small white beans, drained and rinsed
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, broth and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Add pasta and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in kale; cook 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium and stir in beans, salt and pepper. Heat through. Serve with crackers or freshly sliced bread! Stay warm and enjoy!

Baby food smoothies!

I swear, sometimes I think Baby eats better than me and Mr. PT!

Today I took a few fresh ingredients and processed them into about a month's worth of baby food! We are trying to get Baby to pack some pounds on her little frame, but in a healthy manner. We are also hoping to develop her little taste buds early on so she won't curl her nose at baked kale when she is older! Ha!

So here were my ingredients, grouped into individual recipes:

-2 frozen bananas, thawed
-1 mango, peeled and sliced
-2 tbs plain Greek yogurt

-1 russet potato, baked with the flesh scooped out
-3 bunches broccoli, steamed until very soft
-1/4 cup mild cheddar cheese

-1 sweet potato, baked with the flesh scooped out
-1 apple, peeled and diced
-1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

I basically threw each group of ingredients into my food processor, puréed until the chunks were gone, then scooped the mixture into ice cube trays.

I froze these for about 2 hours, then popped them out and quickly stored them in freezer bags. Now they are happily sitting in my freezer waiting to eaten by Baby!

My thought is that you could also use these cubes of goodness to throw into smoothies or heat up for soups. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Continuing education

So how many of you made New Year's resolutions this year? How many include the words "be healthy" or "lose weight?"

Seeing as how it's halfway through January already, you might need a little something to keep your motivation strong. Remember, if your goal is to be a healthier person (for the rest of your life!), you need to make some changes to your lifestyle, not just what you eat.

Mr. PT and I recently watched a TED Talk that pretty much sums up how we have come to feel about our eating habits. It also touches on a lot areas that Mr. PT is investigating in his research endeavors right now.

Take a listen!

If you are still wondering what "mindful eating" looks like, check out this article. It should give you some ideas on how to make that resolution come true!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sweet potatoes rule!

After a LONG leave of absence from my blogging days, I am back! Baby is able to entertain herself for at least five minutes which means I should be able to write a blog entry at least a few times a week!

We will see how it goes! I hope I didn't lose all my readers!

Mr. PT and I ate a late lunch today so we kept dinner light. We have really been digging sweet potatoes so I decided to mix it up by making twice baked sweet potatoes. I think they turned out really well!

To make this simple meal, all you need is:
-1 large sweet potato
-1 tablespoon of butter
-A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
-1/8 cup of sliced almonds

If you are in a hurry, put a large sweet potato in the microwave (make sure you stab it with a knife first) and the zap it for five minutes on high. Turn the sweet potato over and cook for five more minutes. Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides of both halves and put them in a small bowl. Mash the sweet potato innards with butter and nutmeg. Put the innards back into the skins. Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and salt if you desire. Bake in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!